The banging comes first, followed by the screaming. I could try to blot out the noise and carry on, but proximity to family is supposed to be one of the benefits of working from home. My one-year-old son knows there's a computer keyboard on the other side of the door that needs a merry bashing with his tiny fists. I relent, as always, steering him toward an old desktop rather than my work laptop. He soon tires, and toddles off in search of fresh excitement.

Like hundreds of other employees in Bloomberg's Hong Kong bureau, I have been working from home for the past several weeks. How long exactly is hard to say, without checking. With no clear separation between the home and work, the hours and days blur into each other. There's a constant sense of extended hiatus. Like the residents of Casablanca, we are waiting, waiting for that plane (or subway, rather) out of here and back to the office.

For futurists, the business disruption wrought by the coronavirus is a dream come true. In 2014, a study by researchers at Stanford University challenged the notion that employees permitted to work from home might spend their time eating popcorn on the sofa and watching Netflix. On the contrary, they found that home working led to a 13 percent performance increase, while employees who volunteered for the nine-month trial reported improved work satisfaction and their attrition rate halved. The company in that case study, perhaps prophetically, was Chinese: Ctrip, a Shanghai-based and Nasdaq-listed travel agency then with 16,000 employees.